During October half term, five pupils were lucky enough to visit
the Eastern European country of Bulgaria for a Geography exploration trip.
Bulgaria is a Balkan nation, with diverse terrain encompassing Black Sea coastline, a mountainous interior and multiple rivers, including the Danube.
It’s a cultural melting pot with Greek, Slavic, Ottoman, and Persian nationalities, each with a rich heritage.
At the foot of the domed Vitosha mountain is its capital city, Sofia, dating from the 5th century B.C, where we arrived on Saturday morning after an early morning flight from Luton.
Upon our arrival in Sofia, we were met by our car hire representative who kindly informed us that
the minivan which we had originally booked had crashed, and we were bluntly told that we would be having two cars instead.
Not a great first impression for Bulgarian customer service, it must be said.
After some excellent negotiating on the part of Mr Pitcher, the trip leader, a refund was finally given which allowed us to find another provider.
After our delay we spent a little time in Sofia before we began our trip to the most northerly point in Bulgaria which we would be visiting, the town of Belogradchik.
The town, whose name literally means ‘small white town,’ is situated
in the foothills of the Balkan Mountains just east of the Serbian border. Our primary reason
for visiting Belogradchik was to visit the Belogradchik rocks and we did so early on Sunday morning.
The rocks are known the world over for their unique tower-like shapes with heights of up to two hundred metres. They are a mixture of conglomerate and sandstone rock formations.
Most of these distinctive rocks are associated with Bulgarian legends, including The Madonna, The Horseman and The Rebel Velko.
Nestled in the central formation of these rocks was a fortress, parts of which dated back to the Roman era, though it had been used as recently as the 1880s during the SerboBulgarian war.
Following our visit to the rocks, we drove about thirty minutes to our next site, The Magura Cave.
The cave is one of the largest in Bulgaria, with a length of over two and a half kilometres.
Its bestknown feature is its ancient cave paintings, some of which are as old as ten thousand years.
In 1984 the cave was put on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage due to its historical importance.
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